FOUR NATIONS WAR MEMORIAL
War 2 - Roll of Honour with detailed information
Compiled and copyright © Dione Venables 2009
Memorial Plaque, which is made of white Italian Aura stone and worked
by Richard Klose, Master Stone Mason, has the 617 Squadron insignia
(motto: Apres Moi le Deluge) and the chevron of The 27th Transport Group,
USAC painted and fired in enamel on steel and set into the stone by
enamellist Gillie Hoyte Byrom.
On Saturday 22nd August 2009 the Memorial Plaque was unveiled by Mrs
Gillian Knowles, niece of the late Flying Officer John McBride Dempster
DFM, RCAF, rear gunner of Lancaster DV382. It was blessed by Canon Christopher
Biddell and the Reverend Adrian Gatrill RAE. Annalee Pogue, daughter
of 1st Lieutenant Richard Pogue, pilot of the C-47 was also present,
having come over from California, USA for the occasion. Sue de Cseuz
and Dr. Kim van de Rijt, nieces of Pilot Officer Johnnie Gordon RAAF,
travelled from New South Wales, Australia. Also present were descendants
of Phillip Chapman, the four men who did their best to save the Lancaster
crew in 1944 and many of the families of the Upwaltham community still
living in the valley. Representing the Four Nations involved were Wing
Commander D. Cooper, Officer Commanding today's 617 Squadron, Colonel
Jeffrey Hosken USAF, Air Attache to the American Embassy, Colonel Doug
Neill RCAF, Canadian Air Attache and Flight Lieutenant Jamie Piszczuk
RAAF, representing the Australian Air Attache.
cover of the book detailing the memorial
Photograph copyright © Dione Venables 2009
REMEMBRANCE OF FIFTEEN
AIRMEN FROM AUSTRALIA, AMERICA, BRITAIN
AND CANADA WHO LOST THEIR LIVES AT
UPWALTHAM WHILE ON ACTIVE SERVICE
DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR
617 DAMBUSTER SQUADRON
13 FEBRUARY 1944
Aprés moi le deluge
Lancaster DV382 KC-J, No. 617 Squadron RAF
Squadron occupies a unique place in the history of the Royal Air
Force. It was the only squadron formed to undertake one specific
operation - the breaching of the Ruhr dams in Germany. The Squadron
was formed on the 21st March 1943 at Scampton, Lincolnshire, under
the command of Wing Commander Guy Gibson, a distinguished and
outstanding bomber and night-fighter pilot during the early war
years. The Dams Raid on the 16th May 1943 was known as Operation
Chastise and consisted of 19 Lancasters. They took off in groups
and Gibson's aircraft was the first to attack the Mohne Dam. The
dam was breached shortly before lam and Gibson radioed back to
Base the code-word 'Nigger', which meant that they were successful.
That particular name had been selected in memory of Gibson's beloved
labrador, and the Squadron's mascot, who had been killed by a
car the day before this Operation. The remaining three aircraft
flew on to attack the Eder Dam. The first two bombs failed to
breach the dam but just before 2am it was successfully targeted
and Gibson was able to signal the code word 'Dinghy', indicating
success with their second target. Of the 19 Lancasters that took
off for the Dams Raid, eight did not return. For his gallantry
in this epic raid, Wing Commander Gibson was awarded the Victoria
Cross and 33 other members of the Squadron were also decorated.
On the 12th February 1944 eleven bombers set out from Ford and
ten returned the following morning. One of those ten was Lancaster
DV382 of 617 Squadron, then based at Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire.
They had landed at Royal Naval Air Station, Ford, on return from
a bombing raid against the Antheor Viaduct in Southern France.
The squadron was led by Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire who, later
the same year, was awarded the Victoria Cross for continual outstanding
courage and leadership.
After making a three hour stopover for de-briefing and a meal,
the crew of DV382 took off from RNAS Ford at 8.15am on the 13th
February 1944 to continue back to base at Woodhall Spa. The Lancaster
took off in very poor morning visibility, having waited for their
passenger, Intelligence Officer Squadron Leader Thomas Williams
Lloyd to complete his business. Within five minutes, in low cloud,
they flew into trees at the top Littleton Down, where the Lancaster
broke up and burst into flames, scattering wreckage over a wide
The impact and explosion was heard at Littleton and Upwaltham
Farms, and farmer Philip Chapman ran to help, together with Fred
Denyer (cowman), Henry Privett (brick layer), George Scutt (tractor
driver) and Leading Seaman R.J. Boyd DSM of Bournemouth who joined
them. The first man they saw was Squadron Leader Suggitt, the
pilot. They found him still strapped in his seat. He was alive,
though very badly burned. The five men pulled him out of the cockpit
and, with oil and ammunition exploding all round them, dragged
him to safety on a stretcher made from his parachute. He died
in St. Richard's Hospital, Chichester on the 15th February from
Mr Chapman and the men from the valley farms could see several
of the crew but they were already dead and the flames and exploding
oil and fuel prevented them from getting nearer to the shattered
fuselage. The burning fuel had sprayed round the wreckage and
they had no idea whether or not there were still bombs among the
widespread devastation. They recovered the body of one crew member
before being finally beaten back and forced to withdraw by the
extreme danger all round them. Mr Chapman and his team, including
Able Seaman Boyd, all of whom suffered burns, were later commended
for brave conduct by His Majesty King George VI.
Leader J/15131, 617 (RAF) Squadron), Royal Canadian Air Force. Awarded
the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). Died 15 February 1944. Aged
23. Son of Thomas and Grace Reid Suggitt, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Buried in Chichester Cemetery, Sussex. Square 159. C of E. Plot.
Toronto, Canada was the son of Thomas and Grace Reid Suggitt of
Toronto, Canada. He enlisted in the RCAF in October 1940, was commissioned
in 1942 and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in January 1943.
The Antheor Viaduct attack was his 64th operation and his 9th with
617 Squadron. He is buried in the Chichester Cemetery, Chichester,
Officer (Navigator) J/22514, 617 (RAF) Squadron), Royal Canadian
Air Force. Died 13 February 1944. Aged 23. Son of James and Henrietta
Elizabeth Davidson, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Buried in Coningsby
Cemetery, Lincolnshire. Row 64. Grave 1253.
Ontario, was the Lancaster's bomb aimer. He was the son of James
and Henrietta Davidson of Toronto, Canada. He died on impact and
is buried, together with Flying Officer Dempster RCAF, and Pilot
Officer Gordon, in Coningsby Cemetery, Lincolnshire, close to Woodhall
Spa, the airfield where 617 Squadron was based.
as Pilot Officer on memorial] Flying Officer 412218,
617 (RAF) Squadron), Royal Australian Air Force. Died 13 February
1944. Aged 31. Son of David Irvine Gordon and Mildred Gordon, of
Cessnock, New South Wales, Australia; husband of Mary V. S. Gordon,
of London, England. B.A., Dip. Ed. Awarded the Distinguished Flying
Cross (DFC). Buried in Coningsby Cemetery, Lincolnshire. Row 64.
the navigator. He was the son of David and Mildred Gordon of Cessnock,
NSW, Australia and the husband of Mary Gordon of London, England.
He completed 27 operations against targets in Germany and Italy.
The Antheor raid was his 6th operation with 617 Squadron. He died
on impact and is buried in Coningsby Cemetery, Lincolnshire.
Officer (Air Gunner) J/17206, 617 (RAF) Squadron), Royal Canadian
Air Force. Died 13 February 1944. Aged 20. Son of John Gass Dempster
and Margaret Dempster, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Awarded
the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM). Buried in Coningsby Cemetery,
Lincolnshire. Row 64. Grave 1254.
of John & Margaret Dempster of Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada, was the rear gunner of DV382. He enlisted in the RCAF in
June . He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal after claiming
two enemy fighters shot down during the raids of December 1942 -
January 1943. He joined 617 Squadron, and Squadron Leader Suggitt's
crew in November 1943 and, despite being the youngest member of
the crew, had completed nine operations with 617 Squadron. He died
on impact and is buried in Coningsby Cemetery, Lincolnshire
Sydney George Hall on memorial] Flying Officer 411775,
617 (RAF) Squadron), Royal Australian Air Force. Died 13 February
1944. Aged 23. Son of Edith Hall, of Wickham Market. Awarded the
Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM). Buried in Wickham Market Cemetery,
Suffolk. Row Q. Grave 31. Se also Wickham
DV 382's Wireless Operator. He was the son of Edith Hall of Wickham
Market, Suffolk, and died with his comrades on impact. Having been
born in Suffolk, England, he emigrated to Australia before the 2nd
World War and enlisted in the RAAF in May 1941. He is buried at
Wickham Market Cemetery, Suffolk.
Sergeant (flight Engineer) 652403, 617 (RAF) Squadron), Royal Air
Force. Died 13 February 1944. Aged 24. Son of George William and
Ada Elizebeth Pulford, of Hull. Buried in Northern Cemetery, Hull,
Yorkshire. Compartment 263. Grave 77.
382's Flight Engineer and the son of George and Ada Pulford of Hull.
He is buried in the Northern Cemetery of his home town, Hull. In
March 1943 he had joined the newly formed 617 Squadron and became
part of the crew of Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC on the Dams Raid
for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal. He died
immediately when DV 382 crashed.
Sergeant (Air Gunner) 1390921, 617 (RAF) Squadron), Royal Air Force
Volunteer Reserve. Died 13 February 1944. Aged 22. Son of John Harvey
Riches and Alice May Riches, of Lingfield; husband of Lily Riches.
Buried in the east part of SS. Peter and Paul Churchyard Extension,
DV 382's mid-upper air gunner. He was the son of John and Alice
Riches of Lingfield, Surrey. He is buried in the family grave of
the Paul family, in the churchyard of SS. Peter & Paul, Lingfield,
Surrey. He had been with Squadron Leader Suggitt's crew since 1943
and had completed nine operations with them at the time of his death.
Leader 84133, 617 (RAF) Squadron), Royal Air Force. Died 12 February
1944. Aged 52. Son of Walter Edmund and Annie Lloyd Lloyd; husband
of Alice Joan Lloyd. Awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).
Cremated and commemorated at Cheltenham Crematorium, Cheltenham,
Gloucestershire. Panel 1.
of John and Annie Lloyd and husband of Alice Lloyd of Cheltenham.
He was Station Intelligence Officer at Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire
and was travelling back to base with the crew from Ford, having
de-briefed them after the Antheor raid. His DSO had been awarded
for Army service in Mesopotamia during the 1st World War. He died
on impact and his ashes are at Cheltenham Crematorium.
27th TRANSPORT GROUP
US ARMY AIR FORCE
11 FEBRUARY 1945
Skytrain (Dakota) No:43-16397, USAAF.
Dakota C-47B, piloted by 1st Lieutenant Richard Pogue, was assigned
to the 311 Ferrying Squadron, 27th Air Transport Group on a non-operational
flight carrying freight and mail from Istres in France to the
US Air Force base at Grove, Berkshire, having gone into Le Bourget,
Paris to refuel en route. As well as their crew of three, 1st
Lieutenant Pogue, 2nd Lieutenant Robert G. Robinson, co-pilot,
and Corporal Jerome T. Smith, the radio operator, there were four
passengers, 2nd Lieutenant Craig Moore, Staff Sergeant Victor
C. Corson, Sergeant Carl Clayton and Sergeant Robert Norris, also
from Istres, who were to relieve work overload at Grove for a
few weeks. The last report of the Dakota's location came from
Tangmere Flying Control at 11.25am, when it was noted that the
aircraft was flying overhead in deteriorating weather at around
300-400 feet ascending, heading north. Ceiling was zero, visibility
25 yards at the time. Around 1200 hours a report came in to Flying
Control, Tangmere that an aircraft had crashed into a hill north
of this airfield. A search party which included Mr Chapman and
the valley men, was sent out and discovered the C-47 completely
disintegrated between West Wood and Burton Down. There were no
survivors. The aircraft crashed close to the top of the hill,
indicating that it was still in ascent at the moment of impact.
Flying Control Tangmere reported that the aircraft had flown over
them at around 300400 feet. There had, however, been no verbal
contact between the C-47 and the control towers at either Ford
or Tangmere, nor was there a pilot call for instructions. The
investigating party decided that the pilot had let down to a few
hundred feet over the English Channel but did not break out of
cloud and so did not realise that he had crossed the southern
coast of England. From the lie of the wreckage it is thought that
Lieutenant Pogue saw the hill, banked sharply and the left wing
hit the trees, was torn off and the resulting lift on the right
wing caused the aircraft to cartwheel. Wreckage was spread over
a wide area.
Lieutenant, aged 28, he came from Woodlake, California. and joined
up in 1940. After training at Ryan Field he spent a year as an instructor
at Kingman, Arizona before joining the Ferry Command in April 1943.
He was the son of Grace Pogue, husband of Vivian and father of Annalee,
and is buried in the American Cemetery, Madingley, Cambridge. UK.
Lieutenant, aged 27, was the co-co-pilot/navigator. He was the son
of Florence and Robert Robinson of Springfield, Massachusetts. He
married Angele Brown in 1943 while in flight training in San Antonio,
Texas. They had a daughter (Gail Robinson Manning), who was 5 months
old at the time of the crash. She and her husband live in Massachusetts.
Angele, who remarried and had two additional children, passed away
in June 2015. While Robert was from Springfield, Massachusetts,
he is buried in the Robinson family plot in Sheffield, Massachusetts
aged 22, was the C-47's radio operator/engineer. He came from Kings,
New York but there are no details available about his family. He
appears to have been unmarried and is buried in the Baltimore National
four passengers were:
Staff Sergeant, aged 32, a flight engineer, stationed in Istres,
France. He was the son of Ida and Ernest Corson of Summit County,
Ohio. He was divorced, and without issue. He is buried in Winchester
National Cemetery Winchester City, Virginia, Plot: 86, 40490..
Lieutenant, aged 25, born in Missouri and had been a Sergeant pilot
with the RAF. He transferred to the USAC, flying C-47s. No details
could be found of his family but he is buried in the Tahama Cemetary,
was also a C-47 flight engineer, stationed at Istres, France. He
was the son of Elizabeth C. and Thomas C. Norris of Georgia. He
was buried in the cemetery of Bleckley County, Georgia.
32387705, aged 32, came from Bergen County, New Jersey, The names
of his parents are not known, He was married but the name of his
wife is not known, nor whether there was issue. He had been serving
with HQ Squadron, 36 Air Depot Group, based in the Mediterranean
area. Buried in Cambridge
American Cemetery, Madingley, Cambridge. Plot C Row 2 Grave
by the parishoners of Upwaltham in 2009
updated 13 August, 2009